Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Every author has them, characters that are so alive on the page they seem real. They practically write our stories for us and can sometimes make reasonable editing quite difficult. They invade our heads, indeed our lives, staying with us well into the night and often causing major periods of sleep deprivation.
For me, such has been the case with Bonnie Lou Ladner, the Queen of Missing County, Tennessee, and the undisputed heroine of Murder With My Darling. Obviously, it was a no-brainer that she would insist on playing an active role when it came time for her book’s launch.
To say that we have wrestled back and forth with this dream of hers would be one of the world’s greatest understatements, but in the end, as is usual in our relationship, I capitulated and agreed to provide Bonnie Lou with a one-time launch interview.
So, with no further ado, I present Bonnie Lou and her interview:
AA: So, Miss Ladner…
BL: Oh, Sugar, please just call me Bonnie Lou. Miss Ladner sounds so formal, and while we southerners pride ourselves on our traditions, we don’t often stand on much ceremony except, of course, when it comes to our beauty pageants, which are highly regulated.
AA: So, Bonnie Lou, you have certainly burst upon the world scene over the past few days, seemingly out of nowhere.
BL: Now, everyone is from somewhere, Annie. I, of course, am from Missing County, Tennessee, which is somewhere to the left of I-75 just south of the Tennessee/Kentucky border.
AA: Still, most people had never heard of you until a few days ago, and here you are now, being interviewed on an internationally read blog for people all over the world to meet and greet.
BL: I’d say it was about time. My mama is absolutely thrilled for me. I guess I’m one of those 29-years-in-the-making overnight wonders. Don’t forget, though, that a lot of folks knew me before now, because of my beauty queen titles.
AA: Ah, yes… My researchers had a little trouble keeping up with those. Exactly how many beauty pageants have you won over your…29 years was it?
BL: Well, you have to understand that I started quite young, when Mama entered me in that Babes in the Arms contest. Of course, winning that one was a breeze for me since Jeb Hawthorne was my competition. Those Hawthornes have always been ugly as sin on a bad day. It’s part of their charm, but let’s not tell anyone that I said so.
AA: You do understand that this blog is read by people all over the world, don’t you, Bonnie Lou?
BL: Oh, that’s all right, Honey, the Hawthornes don’t read all that much. They’re much too busy playing Bingo down at Pastor Davis’s church to be bothered with reading and writing and such mundane stuff.
AA: Speaking of your beauty contest titles, you mention in your book, Murder With My Darling, that there is a story behind your never having entered the Miss America contest. I’m sure my blog’s readers would like to hear firsthand an exclusive explanation for this notable exception.
BL: No comment.
AA: Okay… At one point in the story, you mention that baton twirling is your talent of choice when you enter a pageant. Do you still practice your routine on a daily basis?
BL: Yes, that’s one of the downsides of being Missing County, Tennessee’s, number one beauty queen, I have to keep my skills up so I won’t let my public down. I tell myself that it’s good for my figure, but it’s really only my fingers that get exercised. And then, there are the dangerous aspects of it all. I have to look out for those, of course.
AA: [Looking confused] The dangerous aspects of baton twirling…?
BL: Oh, yes, my flaming baton routine comes with a certain element of risk, which is probably why I was able to bring such a fearless attitude to finding a murderer. I have to be very careful to keep those flames away from all the professional grade hairspray I use to hold my bouffant hairdo in place.
AA: Oh, I see. Have you ever considered another talent – say singing or playing the piano?
BL: Beauty contest winners are similar in their own way to successful authors, Annie. We do what we know, where successful authors write what they know. Of course, now that I think about it, you might not know about that.
AA: [Somewhat taken aback] Well, let’s get back to your book, since its launch is the reason for this interview. I and my staff absolutely LOVE your cover.
BL: Isn’t it fabulous? I insisted on its being designed by Angel Nichols. She lives in Prattville, Alabama, which means she’s southern, and she’s internationally successful. To me it seemed like a no-brainer. I thought she caught both my personal success as a beauty queen and my overall sense of style quite nicely. Also, the cover is quite colorful, which is definitely like me.
AA: Speaking of working with those who are internationally known for their creative endeavors, how did you find working with the author of this blog, none other than myself?
BL: NO COMMENT!
AA: Ah…well…okay… Your book is titled Murder With My Darling. I’m sure this blog’s readers would be interested in knowing more about the “darling” referred to in the book’s title.
BL: That would be my lifelong boyfriend, who just happens to be the sheriff of Missing County, Tennessee. As the story opens, a rather inconvenient murder has been committed, and it falls upon me to help him out because of a previous commitment on his part.
AA: So you don’t normally assist with his office’s investigations?
BL: [Laughing] No, this was a first, but now that I’ve plumbed the depths of the criminal mind, I may try to help my guy out from time to time. After all, Rule # 23 in A Southern Gal’s Guide to Keeping Your Man is – Be there for your man, even when he doesn’t know he needs you.
AA: I’m glad that you mentioned A Southern Gal’s Guide to Keeping Your Man. You refer to rules from this book throughout Murder With My Darling. Unfortunately, this seemingly definitive work has been out of print for over forty years, and those on my staff were unable to secure a copy of it. Would you say that the words contained therein have had a strong influence on your life?
BL: Oh, definitely! Without the good advice found within the fabled covers of A Southern Gal’s Guide to Keeping Your Man, Dave’s mom and I would never have been able to raise him so well. [Author’s Note: Dave is the first name of Missing County, Tennessee’s, aforementioned sheriff.]
AA: Your copy must be fairly dog-eared by now.
BL: Oh, no, we Ladner women have always prized our copies, keeping them out of the reach of small children and washing our hands before using them. It’s the least we can do for a book that ranks second only to our Bibles.
AA: I’m sure this blog’s readers would be thrilled if you would share with them exactly when you and your darling will be tying the knot, so to speak.
BL: [Laughing] That’s for me to know and for you and him to guess.
Now, you asked me exactly how many beauty contest titles I had won since I was a baby. Babes in the Arms was Number One, of course. Then there was Princess of the Lambs. That was Number Two.
AA: [With obvious relief] I’m afraid we’ve just about run out of space, Bonnie Lou.
BL: Tulip Princess was Number Three.
AA: I hope those of you who follow this blog regularly will return next week, when we will be talking about the social media giant, Twitter.
BL: Number Four was my winning the Barbie Look-a-Like Contest. Or was that Number Five…
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!